The potential of aging


My best friend’s 16-year old daughter is facing one of the toughest decisions of her young life. Jennifer is a scholar and a talented soccer player, ranked sixth in her state, destined for a scholarship to a Division I school. Like most talented players who want to hone their skills in the off-season, Jennifer joined a traveling team led by a Division I college coach. Soon thereafter, the team was on its way to a winning season, and Jennifer was the star player. In an effort to motivate the players, the coach employed cruel tactics, and since Jennifer was his “best” player, she was his prime target. Interventions by her parents and others did not result in any change; Jennifer asked her parents if she could quit the team. She was not taking the decision lightly. She loved soccer, but now the experience was no longer fun; rather, it was emotionally upsetting. Jennifer asked herself some tough questions. How will my teammates feel if I quit? Will my leaving affect the team’s...

Walking your way to fitness and friendship


For many of us, getting fit is an ever-present entry on our to-do list. Not so for Mike McAdam. Since April 2012, McAdam, 41, a recreation coordinator at Goebel Adult Community Center, has lost an incredible 225 pounds. “Last year at this time I would dread walking to the front desk to greet visitors,” he told me recently. “My knees hurt. I was tired and winded, and finally said to myself, enough is enough.” McAdam joined a gym and began working out but then tore his meniscus, a knee injury, which delayed his efforts to get fit. After the injury was repaired, he began walking instead but couldn’t exercise long enough to lose weight. His doctor recommended weight-loss surgery, and McAdam underwent the procedure to insert a gastric sleeve in his stomach. “The surgery is just a tool,” McAdam said. “It forces you to change your eating habits, but in order to truly lose weight you must also increase your physical activity.” Not long after his operation, McAdam began a walking...